Wednesday, 28 December 2011

The December Desert quickly approaching the end of December. All I can say is hallelujah! This year, as a result of torturing my family with my  first (and possibly last) successful  NaNovember, I agreed to NOT TO WRITE  at all during December. And I have stuck to that promise.

Mad you say?

But....come November 30th, my nerves  were frazzled, my house was a bombsite, and my husband and children were feeling woefully neglected. This all because I decided, with a part time job and an appalling typing speed of only 27 words a minute, to try my hand at 50k words in one month.

I can happily report that I did it.
I can also report that the resulting manuscript is  the most appalling piece of dreck anyone on planet earth ever produced.

Things I learned doing Nano:
1) a Typing speed of only 27 words a minute is a serious hindrance to someone who wishes to write professionally. Even if I never do Nano again, am gifting myself with a typing course in the New Year to address the weakness.
2) when short on word count and ideas, a gratuitous (and quite possibly thrown out in the edit) sex scene between 2 completely unlikely characters supplies a great giggle, refreshes the writing juices and can account for A LOT of words!
3) online support groups are invaluable but also verrrrry distracting. Especially as I am 100% certain that they all type faster than I do and can afford to blather on FB chat.
4) my family are like delicate orchids and really suffer when they don't receive the requisite amount of TLC. Faster typing and better time management will help this in future.
5) a dirty house is a good excuse and a great an ideal world, dishes and laundry would type for me as I cleaned, or possibly clean up themselves. Any inventors out there?
6) Writing that much fries your synapses.

I have graduated from the Crash Test Dummy School of Writing.

I am emerging from the dry boring December desert of no writing, hopefully refreshed and ready to write again. This time, more slowly, choosing every single word for the beauty of it instead of the word count.

I can’t wait.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Get lost

Not far from where I live in northwest England is a small village. Outsiders pay little if any attention to it. Very probably, if you looked close, it wouldn’t seem to offer anything different from other villages nearby. But I love it. I find everything about it charming, fascinating. I spend as much time there as my complicated life will allow. Going there fills a gaping, hungry hole in me. The hole comes back often, so I know it’s roads well.
I’ve learned that it’s nothing like every other village you might drive past.  Twitch the curtains a bit, peel back the wallpaper, dig in the flower beds, and you find Secrets. Stories.  Dramas. If you pay attention, listen to the quiet whispers, ripples and gaps in the conversations, you find that its inhabitants lives are full of riddles and complexities.
There’s the young estate agent so utterly bewitched by a house she’s supposed to sell that she gets rid of potential buyers any way she can. A teenager that can wipe away a person’s memory just by touching their hand. The reclusive 80’s rock star hiding in her barn at a local farm, hoping no one recognises her from her past. The woman trying to escape from her philandering, murderous husband, the local investment banker.  A travelling circus full of arsonists, thieves, conmen and killers. Not a single person in the village is dull. Like you, like me, they all have a story to tell.
At times, if I’m distracted or too busy, I find it hard to go there. I can tell if it’s been too long between visits. I feel antsy, unfulfilled.
The odd thing is, when I do finally get there, it could be anytime, day or night. I might be physically pushing a trolley down the aisle at ASDA, watching a film with my husband, walking to school to collect the kids. But I’m not, really. I’m in my little village, visiting the rock star as she struggles with the opportunity to revive her career. A career that several years before ended in tragedy, bad press and dead bodies.
I’m walking through the gardens with the estate agent, smelling the roses, spying the koi in the pond, watching the play of sunlight and shadows in the pines.
Wherever I am physically, you can be sure of one thing.  Eighty per cent of the time, mentally I’m there. Wandering the streets, having a chat. Sharing a few tears. Cheering triumphs, large or small. Starting fights, stirring up trouble.
I’ve christened my little village Get Lost, I’m Writing. No one else goes there without an invite. And I really need to get back to it, coz the inhabitants are getting restless. They have things to say, places to go, scores to settle. And they can’t do it unless I get moving.
So, Get Lost, I’m Writing.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

piffle and ramble

Well... I am doing exactly that THING.which.I.would.NEVER. do (as I feel it marks me with a certain taint of 'up my own proverbial'-ness)

but nonetheless, here it is. A BLOG. Apparently, as I am under the probably mistaken impression that I may want to be a published writer someday (and a princess, an astronaut, the next Madonna, nobel prize winner in physics...scratch the last entry) is de rigueur, as I must have mega saturated web presence and be contactable in multiple formats....pfffft. uber pffft. (the luddite in me scoffs, and has had to write this 2x as came off screen and neglected to save my work...)

I add keeping a blog to a universe sized list of THINGS I AM ALREADY NOT GETTING DONE due to the fact that I am mind numbingly busy with the following noble pursuits:

1. attempting to build loving relationship skills with husband and children that do not include Banshee level screaming or murder.
2. trying to keep house manageable, if not spotless whilst doing things that really matter to me (see #1 and pile on: writing, running lovely writers group, reading, attending church, writing, seeing mates, working, breathing, parents association, sleeping, eating copious amounts of hummus and chocolate but not together.)
2. practicing to be a little bit better as a person everyday (epic FAIL, as my 13 yr old would say)

As a result, BLOG keeping falls into the catagory of Things That Keep Me From Writing a Bestseller, along with scrabble on Facebook, ebay, unsolicited marketing phonecalls & a manic, attention seeking Border Collie that is only still alive as we are not in Thailand and I cannot feed him to kids when low on groceries.

Add to that, dear cyber stalkers, the fact that all of the above things are mostly boring to me and will therefore be completely boring to spectators. Which, need I point out the obvious, will make for one mega yawn inducing blog.

So Todays Point of Interest: READ NEIL GAIMAN. (am sending mind control vibes to all and sundry.) DO IT NOW!

After having loved his kids books (yes, I buy irreverent and subversive books for my kids at every opportunity), I have discovered his adult novels (stop thinking naughty thoughts) and have been devouring them at an unhealthy rate. I have to restrain myself from licking the pages as I am desperate to involve yet another sense in the experience. Have realised that at my current rate of consumption I will have exhausted his entire back catalog by end of summer and will have to resort to drastic measures.
In last 2 months I have read Neverwhere, The Graveyard Book, and Anansi Boys. Nearly cried upon reaching the end of Graveyard & Neverwhere because I couldn't stand it that the story was actually over.

Maybe I even will go so far as to go all Kathy Bates ALA Misery and kidnap him so he will write more for me.

Add his lovely turn of phrase and quirky story lines to the fact that he has gorgeous curly hair, and it's a done deal.
Anyways, my weakness for curly hair aside, READ his stuff, it is FAB.

Thus endeth my first Blog entry. It involved no injury or loss of blood, and I'm not asleep yet. hmmm. mission accomplished.